It was three days after my 29th birthday when I realised I was asexual. I was clicking around on the BBC website and I saw a headline:
I’m a curious person, and I like to read. When I don’t have enough to do at work I read news websites (mostly the Guardian and the BBC). So I clicked. And I read. And I suddenly realised something about myself that explain a whole side of my personal identity that had, up until that point, merely left me with feelings of confusion and questions. Things like:
Why did all my friends have boyfriends and I didn’t? (My social group at this point was mostly made of up heterosexual men and women, but this question would have remained whether everyone I knew was gay, straight or bi.)
Why didn’t I enjoy going out and pulling?
How exactly does one go about finding a relationship?
Why does everyone else find it so easy?
Did they learn it from TV?
Is there something wrong with me?
That was the main thing that bothered me. I had never enjoyed the experiences that I saw so many of my friends focussed on. I just couldn’t understand why so much of their lives were devoted to pursuing the perfect relationship. Having reached my late 20s, my recent summers had been filled with my friends’ engagements, weddings, moving in together, and babies. So many babies. And still I remained alone, with not only no prospects on the horizon, I couldn’t find the desire to go prospecting in the first place.
I had moved to London just under four years earlier. The previous year had not been a good one. I had spent six months unemployed, but finally had got the job of my dreams, working in the industry I loved, in a role that suited my experience down to the ground. And having sorted out my career, I guess I was in a position to scrutinize my personal life more closely.
I’d heard the term asexual bandied around before, mostly in relation to fictional characters like Sherlock Holmes, or in the scientific sense. I’d never thought of it as a community, or a spectrum. Suddenly, just from reading that article, I had with words I had no context for but wanted to know about. Suddenly there was a whole feature where I understood exactly what the people featured were talking about, rather than feeling like an observer to a society that I simply didn’t fit into. It’s probably the only moment in my life that I can describe as a ‘Eureka’ moment.
It’s a difficult thing to suddenly reassess what you know about yourself at the age of 29. It’s four and a half years later and I’ve still not really owned this identity. I keep my asexuality to myself. I don’t talk about it to my friends or family. I’ve never Come Out. Visibility is important, and I wish that I was brave enough to stand up and tell people who I am, but I’m not. So for now I will remain anonymous but I want to blog about my experience and contribute what I can.